Sometimes you can get Housing Benefit for a period before you put in your claim. This is known as backdating.
People of working age.
If you are of working age the maximum period for which a claim can be backdated was reduced from six months to one month from 1st April 2016. You may still be entitled to up to six months if you applied before that date.
It is best to ask for backdating when you fill in your claim form for Housing Benefit. There a section in the form to do this.
You should include a statement as to why you did not claim before.
You will need to prove "good cause" for not applying earlier. This could be if:
- you were ill and no-one else could claim for you
- you were in hospital
- you were waiting for a decision on another benefit
- you didn't understand you could claim - perhaps because of your age, inexperience, language problems or difficulty in understanding technical documents
- you were wrongly told you were not entitled to benefit by an official organisation
- you couldn't manage your own affairs
- a close relative died.
You should give us as much information and supporting evidence as possible. We will look at all the circumstances during the time you delayed making a claim and will decide if the delay was reasonable enough to allow backdating.
People of pension age.
We can automatically backdate your Housing Benefit for up to three months if you are of pension age. You do not have to ask us to do it or give any reasons for not claiming earlier.
Use the Gov.uk pension credit calculator to check when you reach pension credit age.
If you or your partner have reached pension credit age, but are getting Income Support, income based Job Seekers Allowance or income related Employment & Support Allowance, your claim can only be backdated for up to one month (or six months if you claimed before 1st April 2016) if you can show good cause (see above) for not claiming earlier.
We may decide that your reasons are not good enough for us to backdate your claim. If you disagree with our decision, you should write to us within one calendar month of the date on your notification letter to ask us to look at your application again.